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dreamplay

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Location, Location, Location: Promenade's Place

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Car Park - Baz's dreamplay, 2016, Laura Moody being amazing on the Cello

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Car Park - Baz's dreamplay, 2016, Laura Moody being amazing on the Cello

Helloo again Bazzers, on this the eve of summer! Could it possibly be true that we are about to get...warm? The evenings are drawing out and it’s a lovely day to be outside - this is promenade weather - and for the uninitiated we ain’t talking about parasols and lace. No, we of course refer to theatre occurring in pub gardens, on roofs, underground train arches, as we found last summer at The Vaults - truly live, truly unpredictable, and truly vulnerable to plane noise, but hey you can’t have everything. We kid, we love those metal birds, who needs soundscapes? *rolls eyes but we love it* 

One of the main things that Baz’s manifesto set out to achieve from the start was accessible theatre, for all - we have massive respect for London’s rich theatre history and it’s theatres - the old and cherished and the new and bold. The only thing is that these beautiful, gold-embellished venues aren’t meant for throwing around paint in and climbing up curtains - the kind of crazy thing we are wont to do - exhibit A being a half-full bathtub being splashed around in every night at The Vaults, that kind of thing- therefore a lot of high profile theatre events tend to stay in the traditional realm, with lots of revivals. And that’s great- far from underestimating our rich theatre and playwriting history, we honour it, we hope, by moving the action to new and unexpected places.

In 2011, we performed Macbeth in a crypt in Holborn, in 2013 the entire Greek Myth canon in a single room in Shoreditch - for us, it’s about taking away as much as possible and seeing  what we can still work with. Great theatre companies like Punchdrunk take over full warehouses, and almost all of the then abandoned Battersea Arts Centre for their projects, marking, we feel, the first shift we felt in the industry away from seeing promenade, experimental theatre as gimmicky or worse, looked down upon. Our most recent production, a version of Strindberg’s dreamplay at the Vaults in London, moved our audience, from courtyard, to stairwell, theatre, to tunnell and beyond, on a scene by scene basis. The majority of our audiences didn’t bat an eyelid about being moved from space to space, sometimes able to sit, sometimes not - Bazzers unite - but those who were being introduced to us, seemed bemused, occasionally annoyed about the upheaval. For us, theatre is a group activity - it’s not sitting with your feet up and eating popcorn - in essence, we don’t want you to be too comfortable, all the time.
 

Er, take that last statement any way you want. We are experimental, after all and that is what we want you to do.

But what remains is the irksome idea that sitting down in a beautiful dark room that is adorned with cherubs is still the standard - Baz loves that stuff more than anyone else, but that’s partly why we made our manifesto in the first place. We of course don’t want to do a disservice to major theatres doing excellent and ground-breaking work, on and off west end - Lucy McCormick’s devilishly entertaining Triple Threat at the Soho is a definite pick - go forth and see it and then never forget it, really just try- but when a member of the Baz Team got to go to a piano recital just recently: where applause is restricted to between movements, coughing is a killing offense and the line between performer and audience has never been so clear: in status, in skill, in tone in such regimental fashion - makes us seem a bit moany over here in Theatreland. Sort it out, classical music concerts. But in all seriousness what do we, and other experimental theatre companies have to sacrifice in order to court the proscenium arch audiences and break through to the mainstream, you ask? Well thank you for asking, but we counter with maybe that it shouldn’t ever be mainstream-ised (is a word, shut up) and that we belong in the weird crowd - discovered by all you delightful weirdos (or Bazzers in this private circle *raises champagne glass*) as you perhaps tell your friends about this bonkers piece of theatre you saw, or you post it online….and maybe that’s the true future of experimental theatre: it’s not, by its nature, there to to earn a place in the prim and proper books of history - it’s meant to be a live, thrown against the wall, one time only event. Truly utopian in nature - anyone can do it! It can happen any place, any where - it’s groovy like that. Viva abandoned cark parks, real parks, fake parks with astroturf, roofs, underground stations, crypts and night clubs in the daytime, your front room - anywhere we can make theatre together... and let’s all arrange to meet back here to see the panto in December.

What do you know. Maybe there’s room for us all - even if you have to stand a little bit. Look at these people, they're loving it! Cheers!


Love,

Baz x

 

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Dreaming in The Vaults - Pic Collection No.3

Hello again Bazzy Dreamers! We are now at our last week in The Vaults! Can you even believe that! We cannot - time is being weird. Like a dream….*twilight music* ha, anyway. We thought we'd spoil you with some more pics courtesy of the excellent Cesare De Giglio! Check them out below!

Love, Baz xx

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Mirror, Signal, Automatic, Aubergine...Oops: Baz Science Lesson No. 4

Afternoon Bazzers! We’re back with yet another sleepy blog, where we have  learned yet more about the odd world of sleep: an activity, a true verb, that looks from the outside restful and peaceful, but we are about to shatter that impression with our booklearnin and smarts. Well, we try to with the help and guidance of resident brainbox PJ. As we inch closer to our dreamplay becoming a reality we’re more morbidly interested in the phenomena of sleeping than ever, ‘bad sleep’ if you will, so without further ado let’s dive headfirst into anxiety and dreams –see you on the other side...

We here at Baz have a bit of a downer on Freud, frankly we think the guy had issues: a touch of Narcissism and prone to fantasy episodes but that’s just laywomen’s opinions – and remind us to never use the term ‘laywomen’ again – but we do appreciate some of the ideas he put forward: most specifically those dealing with anxiety.  His theory that society is a major player in the formation of anxiety is something that certainly feels true today: phones, likes, magazines, money, politics.  But Freud being Freud he put it into two neat categories: that of Automatic Anxiety and Signal Anxiety – so the choice is: being afraid of being afraid of something happening to you in the moment and it being terrible, or being afraid of feeling something bad is happening anyway and all that bad stuff is just going to, you know, be really bad.
 

Good times, are we right, guys?
 

Freud theorises that these daily worries slip into our unconscious so that at night, an anxiety dream (or a ‘failed dream’) as he called it, is you trying to exorcise the anxiety by sort of living it. We know, super useful; and not traumatic at at all. But that REM state you get into when you’re about 90 minutes into the night will probably bring lovely dreams of being mugged or stuck or that moment of hearing your keys in your bag but not able to find them for an abnormally long time…or is that just us?
 

Anyway, Automatic Anxiety: what is it? Well, dreams that imagine a scenario when you are ambushed and are helpless to the physical or emotional consequences of it – recreating a traumatic experience – and this is where beardy Freud-y loses us a bit here. He then confidently asserts this is a reflex left over from the experience of both before and during our own births, earning it the name of ‘primary anxiety’. And hey, you don’t get more primary than that.
 

Well this guy clearly loves a sign... shown here for 'balance'.

Well this guy clearly loves a sign... shown here for 'balance'.

Signal Anxiety, on the other hand, is the sensation of being aware that something bad is going to happen, causing the emotional and physical consequences of a Bad Thing , and that in itself being just as scary as actually experiencing it, so good news – you’re not only going to get stuck on the rollercoaster upside down but you’re going to feel like you were going to before you stepped on it. The body goes into a state of constant preparation, aware that any second you might have to spring into action to avoid the unavoidable fate your dream has cooked up for you. This Freud coined as ‘Neurotic Anxiety’ and we mean….you weren’t kidding, Sigmund.
 

So how do we get ourselves out of this Primary/Neurotic state unscathed? Well it’s not that easy, really. Freud’s theories of defence mechanisms don’t offer much hope, throwing around words like, Repression, Regression, Projection, Denial…the future could be looking pretty dark, if it weren’t for Sublimation and Rationalisation. Rationality, kids, is your friend and when you employ it to your anxiety dreams through realisation of Freud’s patented ‘Talking Cure’ ™ you can go back to common or garden 'just going back to check I locked the front door' maybe twice, tops. But more Baz in style is Sublimation, where you take that negative energy and instead of wiping it clean away, you mould it into something else that could work for you. Probably Van Gough had anxiety, certainly depression and other tendencies but his art is beautiful and calm. He sublimated like no-ones business, and discounting the ear incident that worked out well. Of course, Freud links this to sexuality and would, at this point in the session, accuse you of having the hots for him, so we’ll leave anxiety there on that fairly positive note.

 

The main thing is though, enjoy yourself, put on the telly, out on Elbow, have a Pimms, read a monologue, play an improv game and sublimate, sublimate, sublimate/

/Be lazy

(Mood) swings and roundabouts innit?

Just by the way, Baz will always confirm that you did lock the door, cos we’re that kind of friend and we dig you.

 

Love, Baz x

 

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